A red team is a group from within your own organization that plays the role of your competitor to help identify weaknesses in your strategy.
It’s good to be positive and optimistic. It’s another thing altogether to be clueless, or worse, hubristic. It’s unlikely that you will win big deals without some problems along the way. In competitive situations, it’s unlikely that you are invulnerable. Your competitors are good companies with good people and good solutions, too. It’s foolish to underestimate them.
How You Will Lose
One way you might use a red team is to help challenge your value proposition and your solution. They can play the role of the varying stakeholders in your dream client’s company and poke holes in your deal.
The red team can point out the issues they’re going to have implementing your solution. Red team members can act as obstacles who will stubbornly work to avoid giving your solution their blessing.
The trick to putting together a good red team is to select people who aren’t attached to your opportunity. You want people who are well-briefed, but who will be committed to challenging your thinking about what your dream client really wants and where your solution and strategy may fall short.
Who Will Beat You
Another red team might be made up of people from your company who act as if they are your competitor. You have to know your competitors well to put together a red team to do this work; you have to know how they compete and win (and if they’ve beaten you before, you will have some idea).
This red team can develop a strategy to beat you. They can describe how the solution this competitor will offer is going to be a better solution. They can also point out weaknesses in relationships, if they are known. Most of all, because these red team members know your company, they know where you are weak and can play as if they are going to exploit that weakness.
We spend a lot of time strategizing on how we are going to win deals, and very little on how we are going to lose. Both are necessary, but it is wrong to ignore the many ways you might lose. By doing this work with a red team early enough, you give yourself time to make the changes that improve your chances of winning.
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Filed under: Competition